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Quilhaugh to return to his team on Monday

North Medford High boys basketball coach Gene Quilhaugh is set to return to practice Monday but still isn't clear what happened to him following a dizzy spell at school earlier this week.

Quilhaugh, 47, experienced dizziness and numbness in his hands and legs prior to the start of school Wednesday and spent much of the day at Providence Medford Medical Center.

The physical education and current events instructor underwent a series of tests and procedures, including X-Rays, a CAT scan, an EKG and blood tests, but nothing was found to be abnormal, he said.

Quilhaugh is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) Tuesday for further evaluation.

I would certainly like to know what caused this situation, both from a personal standpoint and a professional standpoint, said Quilhaugh, adding that he wasn't suffering from an irregular heartbeat, as was earlier reported.

Quilhaugh was diagnosed with a clogged artery while teaching and coaching at Stayton High School near Salem in 1995. He underwent successful angioplasty and hadn't experienced any more problems until this week, he said.

Since the earlier condition, Quilhaugh has lost 40 pounds and embarked upon an exercise routine that includes a lot of bike riding.

I know how to get to Central Point and back on the (Bear Creek) bike path, Quilhaugh said. But my favorite trips are to go to Sam's Valley, park my car and go riding. That's a great way for anyone to ease their minds.

Quilhaugh also relaxes by playing his guitar and reading.

Although he admitted the uncertainty of what exactly happened to him has caused some anxiety, he's not losing any sleep over it.

Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you make of it, Quilhaugh said. It always has been and always will be.

Sometimes as educators, we try to sugarcoat stuff to the kids, but in actuality, life knocks you sideways some of the time.

I'm not going to let this slow me down.

When he was at Stayton, Quilhaugh's team won a state championship in March of 1995. That April, he began to experience chest pains. In May, he had angioplasty. In July, he had a negative reaction to medicine and lost five pints of blood. And in August, one of his assistant coaches was killed in one car wreck and one of his players in another.

So really, this is a minor thing, he said.

Quilhaugh's North Medford team lost both of its games over the weekend -- 77-69 to North Eugene and 92-77 to No. 10-ranked South Eugene to fall to 1-3 on the season.

Assistant coaches Jerry Shults and Tim Sam ran the squad in Quilhaugh's absence.

I'm very fond of this group of young men, said Quilhaugh, whose team won the Southern Oregon Conference championship last season. They're a social group, they care about each other, they work hard. And I know they're frustrated we haven't won more.

I'm anxious to get back Monday and see if we can help change that.